The advent of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting national lockdown has had catastrophic effects on large segments of the population, especially farmers, who are in need of emergency relief. Many farmers cannot harvest their crops without migrant labor and the crops they can harvest they often cannot sell because they either cannot bring their crops to market or their customers cannot come to them.

Roadside vendors in need of emergency relief, selling vegetables.
Roadside vendors

In addition to the problems of the lockdown itself, many farmers are now finding they are unable to sell products such as jack fruit because, now that exports have stopped, they have lost their buyers. Without the money they receive from selling their crops, farmers will not be able to buy seeds and supplies for the next planting. Their customers, in turn, are often unable to find the food they and their children need, bringing them, too, to the edge of starvation.

What we’re doing to help

Research had shown that simply giving cash grants to those in need is the best way to provide emergency relief. Because it doesn’t require field distribution of emergency supplies, relief can be provided more quickly, and the same amount of money goes a lot further. And (and this is what surprised us) because the recipients know best what they need to survive, they actually end up healthier than those who have been helped with emergency food rations.

We have also been providing children with hot meals, farmers with the means to make their own sustainable organic fertilizer, and women with the training to create shelf-stable, value-added products like tomato jam that can better weather sudden market disruptions.

Recovery is slow, and help will be needed for months to come. Even small donations can make a big difference: JUST $10 will feed five families in need for a month. Your gift could save someone’s life!

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